HVAC Issues: 4 Handy Methods For Locating A Refrigerant Leak

One of the more common problems homeowners face is refrigerant leaking out of their HVAC system. While it isn't a dire situation, it can be an annoying an expensive one. Fixing a leak is often an easy thing to do; however, actually locating the leak can be difficult. Fortunately, there are several methods for locating a refrigerant leak in a home heating and cooling unit.

If you want to test your hand at locating a refrigerant leak in your HVAC system, use one of these four methods:

1. Soap and Water

One of the easier methods for identifying where a leak is coming from is by using the soap and water method. In this method, you make a concoction of soap and water. To do this, simply mix a few drops of dish soap into a spray bottled filled partially with water. Apply the mixture to your HVAC unit and turn it on. Once on, wait to see any bubbles that form. Where the bubbles form is where the leak is. It's that easy.

2. Detectors

Another easy method for detecting leaks is to use a detector. An electronic detector will scan the unit for any potential leaks. If there is a leak, the unit will notify you. These devices can be found at most home improvement stores and they are easy to use. Just follow the instructions that came with the device to locate the leak.

3. Black Lights and Dyes

You can also use a black light to locate the leak. Simply inject the unit with a UV reactive light, turn off the lights, turn on the unit, and switch the black light on. Since a UV reactive dye has been inserted into the unit, you will be able to see glowing areas where there are leaks. Just move the light slowly over the unit until you find the glowing spots. Once found, mark them down because that's where the unit is leaking from.

4. Visual

Finally, you can also use your eyes to locate the leak. Although it is more difficult to use this method, it isn't impossible. Make sure the area is well lit and look for any discolored areas on your unit. Since refrigerant oil will usually stain the area of the leak, you should be able to find it.

While these methods are good for locating refrigerant leaks in HVAC systems, they aren't foolproof. Sometimes, the leaks are very small and are difficult to find. If you believe your system has a refrigerant leak and you cannot locate it, you should contact a professional for a heating and cooling service. Professionals have much more experience and an array of tools available, so they will easily be able to locate the source of the leak. Contact a company such as Jackson Heating & Cooling for more information.